[LINK] Fwd: [PRIVACY Forum] Not on Track with "Do Not Track"

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Thu Nov 1 16:45:15 AEDT 2007

>                   Not on Track with "Do Not Track"
>            http://lauren.vortex.com/archive/000326.html
>Greetings.  Several groups have just proposed to the FTC that a
>"Do Not Track" Internet list be created, somewhat in the vein of the
>"Do Not Call" phone solicitation "block" list
>( http://tinyurl.com/2l6byw ).
>While it's way too early at this stage to make definitive statements
>about the details of such a concept, you might be surprised to hear
>that my initial reaction to the idea is running significantly toward
>the negative.
>Given my long-standing concerns regarding what I call "data creep"
>and diffusion of collected user transactional data into increasingly
>disparate "domains" of use, one might expect me to be enthusiastic
>about such a list.  I'm not.
>I'll have lots more to say about this if the plan seems to gather
>any traction, but my gut feeling is that the concept is ripe both
>for the "be careful what you wish for" and the "law of unintended
>consequences" booby prizes.
>I touched on some of this back in September in "Blocking Web Ads --
>And Paying the Piper" ( http://lauren.vortex.com/archive/000281.html ),
>to the extent that if we're really ready to fundamentally
>restrict the advertising basis of most Web services today, we'd
>better be ready to pony up the bucks to pay for Internet-based
>services that we now get for free.  I'm not convinced that most
>people really want to go in that direction.  I know that I don't.
>Behavioral tracking can definitely be abused.  But frankly, the
>concept of a massive government-mandated opt-out list applied to
>that space gives me cold shivers.  I can offhand think of a bunch of
>ways that such a plan -- for a variety of technical reasons -- could
>essentially blow up and make matters far worse rather than better,
>and that's not even taking into account the potentially derailed
>business models, resulting realignments, and out-of-pocket payments
>that would newly become the burden of consumers.
>Perhaps the push for "Do Not Track" will serve as a wake-up call for
>Internet firms, reminding them that they need to be more proactive
>in terms of self-limiting their collection and use of such data --
>to applications that will not be perceived as abusive -- or else
>risk the government moving in and throwing a massive monkey-wrench
>into their operations.
>Overall, I'd much rather see the industry seriously self-regulate
>this area, because all else being equal -- to horribly mangle a
>classic movie line -- "We don't need more stinkin' lists!"
>And that's the truth.
>Lauren Weinstein
>lauren at vortex.com or lauren at pfir.org
>Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800
>Co-Founder, PFIR
>    - People For Internet Responsibility - http://www.pfir.org
>Founder, PRIVACY Forum - http://www.vortex.com
>Member, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
>Lauren's Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com

Roger Clarke                  http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/

Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in Info Science & Eng  Australian National University
Visiting Professor in the eCommerce Program      University of Hong Kong
Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre      Uni of NSW

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